Notice Of Privacy Practices (2013)
Jackson County Healthcare Authority is required by a federal regulation, known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide you with notice of its legal duties and privacy practices. The practices outlined in this notice will also apply to employees, medical staff, personnel, and volunteers of Jackson County Healthcare Authority (JCHCA), which includes the following: Highlands Medical Center, Highlands Health & Rehab, Cumberland Health & Rehab, Highlands Family Care, Highlands Family Medicine, Therapy Unlimited, Scottsboro/North Jackson Urgent Care Clinics, Hodges Clinic, Jackson County Family Medicine, Highlands Surgical Services, Highlands Imaging Center, Highlands Maternity Center, Highlands Medicine on the Move, Mobile Mammography, Highlands Sleep Disorders Center, Highlands Surgery Center, Highlands Therapy Center, Highlands Home Health, Highlands Occupational Medicine Center, and Highlands Ambulance Service.
Jackson County Healthcare Authority and Medical Staff have agreed to an Organized Health Care Agreement (OHCA) for the purposes of sharing Protected Health Information (PHI) and issuing of a joint notice of privacy practices.
JCHCA is permitted by federal privacy laws to make uses and disclosures of your health information for purposes of treatment, payment, and healthcare operations. Protected health information (PHI) is the information we create and obtain in providing our services to you. The health information about you is documented in a medical record. Such information may include documenting your symptoms, medical history, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and applying for future care or treatment. It also includes billing for these services.
We are required by law to do the following:
• Maintain the privacy of your protected health information.
• Provide you with certain rights with respect to your protected health information.
• Provide you with a copy of this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your protected health information.
• Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.
We reserve the right to change the terms of this notice at any time. We also reserve the right to make the changes apply to your medical information we already have on file. Before we make a material change to this notice, we will promptly post a new notice in a clear and prominent area at each of our facilities and on our website. You can also request a copy of the new notice from any of our registration staff at each facility.
How May We Use or Disclose Your Medical Information?
We may use and disclose your medical information without your authorization for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations as explained below:
1. For Treatment. We will use and disclose your PHI to provide, coordinate, or manage your healthcare and any related services. This includes the coordination or management of your healthcare with a third party that has been consulted, or with an entity that already obtained your permission to have access to your PHI. For example, we would disclose your PHI, as necessary, to a home health agency, skilled nursing facility, or a hospice that provides care to you.
2. For Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that treatment and services rendered through JCHCA may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, insurance companies, or third parties. For example, we may need to release to your health plan provider a description of your condition and the treatment you receive so that your health plan provider will reimburse us for your treatment. We also may need to notify your health plan provider about a treatment you are scheduled to receive to obtain prior approval for payment or to determine whether your health plan will cover the treatment. In addition, if you do not pay us for the healthcare services we provided to you in a timely fashion, we may also disclose limited medical information to a collection agency.
3. For Healthcare Operations. We may use and disclose your medical information in order to support our business activities, such as quality assessment, quality improvement, outcome evaluation, protocol and clinical guideline development, training programs, credentialing, medical review, etc. For example, we may use your medical information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also disclose your medical information to medical school students who see patients at our facilities.
4. Business Associates. We may disclose your medical information to our Business Associates that assist us in our delivery of healthcare and related services, such as billing companies, lawyers, accountants, and others. Before we disclose your medical information to our business associates, we will have a written contract with each of them that will require each of them to agree to maintain the privacy of your medical information.
Below are other reasons we may use and disclose your medical information without your consent or authorization.
For each category of uses or disclosures, we will explain what we mean and present an example. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed; however, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.
1. Uses and Disclosures Required by Law. We may use or disclose your medical information as required by law, but must limit such use or disclosure to relevant information and otherwise comply with applicable legal requirements. We must also disclose your medical information to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to determine our compliance with federal privacy laws.
2. Public Health Activities. We may use or disclose your medical information to public health authorities authorized to receive or collect information for public health services, such as the need to prevent or control disease, injury, or disability; report births and deaths; to report reactions to medications or problems with products.
3. Abuse, Neglect, or Domestic Violence. We may use or disclose your medical information in some instances if we reasonably believe that you are a victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.
4. Health Oversight Activities. We may use or disclose your medical information to a health oversight agency for health oversight activities authorized by law, including, for example, inspections and licensure of healthcare facilities.
5. Judicial and Administrative Proceedings. We may use or disclose your medical information under certain conditions to comply with legal proceedings, such as a subpoena or order by a court.
6. Law Enforcement Purposes. We may disclose your PHI if asked to do so by a law enforcement official in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, or similar process; to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, or missing person; or about a death that we believe may be the result of criminal conduct.
7. Coroners, Medical Examiners, and Funeral Directors. We may use or disclose your medical information to a coroner or medical examiner to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about deceased patients to funeral directors as necessary for them to carry out their duties.
8. Organ, Eye, Tissue Donation. We may use or disclose your medical information to notify organ procurement organizations to assist them in organ, eye, or tissue donations and transplants.
9. Research. In limited circumstances we may use and disclose your medical information to conduct medical research.
10. Serious Safety Threat. We may use or disclose your medical information where we believe it is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat to the safety of a person or the public.
11. Special Government Functions. We may use or disclose your medical information under some circumstances for specialized government functions, including those related to the armed forces, national security, and intelligence.
12. Workers’ Compensation. We may use or disclose your medical information as authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with laws related to workers’ compensation and similar programs.
13. Scheduling Appointments, Appointment Reminders, and Health Related Benefits or Services. We may use or disclose your medical information to schedule appointments, give you appointment reminders, and give you information about treatment alternatives and other healthcare related services or benefits we offer.
14. To Your Personal Representatives.
We may disclose your medical information to your personal representatives that are appointed by you or authorized by applicable law.
15. Inmates. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. We may release such information for purposes that include:
(1) providing you with healthcare;
(2) protecting your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or
(3) protecting the safety and security of the correctional institution.
Uses and Disclosures for which You Have An Opportunity to Agree or Object:
1. Facilities/Patient Directories. We will include your name, location in our facility, and religious affiliation in our patient directory at your location for use by clergy and visitors who ask for you by name unless you object in whole or in part. The opportunity for you to agree or object may be given retroactively in emergency situations.
2. Individuals Involved In Your Care. We may disclose your medical information to a family member, friend or other person that you indicate is involved in your care or the payment for your healthcare, unless you object in whole or in part. We may also disclose your information to an entity assisting in disaster relief efforts so that your family can be notified of your condition, status, or location. The opportunity for you to agree or object may be given retroactively in emergency situations.
3. Fundraising. We may use or disclose your medical information to contact you in an effort to raise money for JCHCA. If you prefer not to receive such fundraising notices, you must notify our Privacy Officer in writing.
Your authorization is needed for other uses and disclosures. We will not use or disclose your medical information for any other purpose unless you give us written authorization to do so. If you give us written authorization to use or disclose your medical information for a purpose that is not described in this notice, then, in most cases, you may revoke it in writing at any time. Your revocation will be effective for all your medical information that we maintain, unless we have taken action in reliance on your authorization.
Do You Have Regarding Your Medical Information?
1. The Right to Request Additional Restrictions on Uses and Disclosures of Your Medical Information. You have the right to ask that we put additional restrictions on how we use and disclose your medical information by delivering the request in writing to our office. We are not required to grant the request.
2. The Right to Inspect and Copy Your Medical Information. You have the right to inspect and copy your medical information that we may use to make decisions about you. In limited circumstances, we are not required to grant the request.
3. The Right to Amend or Correct. If you feel that your medical information is incorrect or incomplete, you have the right to ask us to correct or amend the information. We will require that you submit the request in writing and explain your reasons for asking for an amendment. In some cases, we are not required to grant the request.
4. The Right to Request Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters by a different means or at a different location than what we are currently doing. In limited circumstances, we are not required to grant the request. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail.
5. Paper Copy of this Notice. You have the right to request and receive a paper copy of this notice (if you received it by email or on the internet) by making a request to our office.
6. The Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You may request, in writing, an accounting of disclosures of your health information. An accounting will not include uses and disclosures for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations.
7. The Right to be Notified of a Breach. You have the right to be notified in the event that we, or a business associate, discover a breach of unsecured protected health information.
8. The Right to Restrict Disclosures to Health Plans. You have the right to request, in writing, that we restrict use and disclosure of your health information from your health insurance plan when you are going to pay out of pocket, in full, for items or services rendered at the time the service is rendered.
If you want to exercise any of these rights described in this notice, please contact our Privacy Officer. We will give you the necessary information and forms for you to complete and return to us. In some cases, we may charge you a nominal fee to carry out your request.
How to File a Complaint About Our Privacy Practices
If you think we may have violated your privacy rights, you may file a complaint with our Privacy Officer. The complaint must be in writing and addressed to: Privacy Officer
P. O. Box 1050
Scottsboro, AL 35768
You may also send a written complaint to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. We will take no retaliatory action against you if you file a complaint about our privacy practices.
Contact our Offices
To request additional copies of this notice or to receive more information about our privacy practices or your rights, please contact our Privacy Officer at 256-218-3847.
Additionally, if you need more information regarding our privacy practices or your rights, contact our privacy officer at the above number.